On Friday afternoon, Carl Nassib spoke to the media for the first time this preseason. In addition the anticipation of Nassib being a key factor in the deepest Raiders defensive line in recent memory, it was also the first time Nassib has publicly spoken since coming out as gay in late June of this year.
The defensive end made history with his announcement, becoming the first openly gay NFL player on an active roster. Along with his announcement, he donated $100,000 to The Trevor Project, a crisis intervention and suicide prevention organization for LGBTQ+ youth.
Here are some of the best soundbites from Friday's media availability.
On seeing the massive outpouring of support following his statement:
"I was definitely surprised by the big reaction. It was incredible. I thought nobody would care, but it was just such a good feeling to have all the support. I was glad I could do my part to help bring visibility and representation to my community."
On the reaction he received from his teammates:
"It's been great. I knew it was going to be good. I had zero stress about that. Absolutely no worries about it. Got a great locker room, great teammates. Been met with nothing but love and support, it's been incredible. Football players get a bad rap, but we're humble, hard-working, accepting people and this was a great example of that, definitely."
On the mental relief that's come with being open:
"It was definitely stressful growing up and being in the closet and doing all that. It's very stressful for anybody, I can speak from experience. But yeah, it's been a great weight off my shoulders. I've been out to my family and friends for years at this point, so it's been good to not have to lie when I come into work every day and, yeah, it's been good."
On expectations for himself and the defensive line in the 2021 season:
"I think that I want to improve my game every single time I get on the field, and we all take that humble approach of just getting better. I'm looking forward to this year and playing with the guys."
On the level of competition in the defensive line room:
"Great competition. Maxx [Crosby] and Yan [Yannick Ngakoue] and Cle [Clelin Ferrell] and Malc [Malcolm Koonce] and Gerri [Green]; they do stuff that I'm trying to copy them, they are trying to copy me. And I can sometimes kind of get offended when they take my move, but then I'm like, 'Alright, I got to take yours now.' So, competition only makes you better. Complacency really doesn't do anything for you in football or in life, so I love the competition. We're all trying to get out there. We don't want to have any fall off between any rotation of guys. So, it's been great."
On reuniting with former Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammate Gerald McCoy:
"It's great to see him. The guy looks in incredible shape. I owe a lot of my success to him. He was a great mentor to me in Tampa. Freed me up a lot. The guy takes up a lot of attention. He looks great. Really excited to have him here, get him back on the field. He's a great guy, great player too."